Music streaming skyrockets, officially becomes biggest money maker

Revenues from streaming grew by a whopping 41.1 per cent in 2017, two Canadians among the global top sellers.

Revenues from streaming grew by a whopping 41.1 per cent in 2017, two Canadians among the global top sellers

Canadian artists Drake and the Weekend were among the global top sellers in 2017. Thanks to streaming services, music revenues are back on the rise. (

Music streaming has been on the rise for years, but in 2017, it officially became the record biz's biggest money maker.

According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which just released its annual report, revenues from streaming grew by a whopping 41.1 per cent, surpassing digital downloads as well as CD and vinyl sales.

Driven by paid services like Spotify and Apple Music, the infusion of revenue also more than makes up for the losses from physical sales (down 5.4 per cent in 2017) and downloads (down 20.5 per cent).

In fact, global music revenues actually grew by 8.1 per cent in 2017, which marks the third year of growth after 15 years of decline.

The industry is on a positive path of recovery but it's very clear that the race is far from won"- Frances Moore, chief executive of IFPI

The music market was worth $17.3 billion in 2017, up from $15.7 billion the year before. Streaming now accounts for 38.4 per cent of the all music revenue, with 176 million people using paid subscription accounts.

But before you give up your day job and get the band back together, it's worth noting that, despite the lift in sales, revenues in 2017 were still down 32.6 per cent from their peak in 1999.

"The industry is on a positive path of recovery but it's very clear that the race is far from won," says Frances Moore, chief executive of IFPI.

"Record companies are continuing in their efforts to put the industry back onto a stable path and, to that end, we are continuing our campaign to fix the value gap. This is not just essential for music to thrive in today's global market, but to create the right — fair — environment for it to do so in the future."

By country, the biggest leaps in streaming revenue came in India (an enormous 60.8 per cent jump), South Korea (24.3 per cent), the Philippines (24.3 per cent), Peru (21.7 per cent), Chile (14.3 per cent) and North America (12.8 per cent). Japan and Europe saw some of the slowest revenue growth.

Rapper Drake got bumped from his number 1 perch in terms of worldwide sales — but with a new album announced for 2018 that could soon change. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

The report also includes a list of the world's top 10 bestselling artists for 2017, with Canadians the Weeknd and Drake — who just announced a new album — coming in at number 7 and number 2, respectively. Here is the full list:

10. The Chainsmokers
9. Linkin Park
8. Imagine Dragons
7. The Weeknd
6. Bruno Mars
5. Eminem
4. Kendrick Lamar
3. Taylor Swift
2. Drake
1. Ed Sheeran

The top 10 albums included releases by Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, P!NK, Rag'n'Bone Man, Sam Smith, U2, Kendrick Lamar and others.

You can check out the IFPI's full report here.


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